When I (Georgi) was checking flight opportunities to Kilimanjaro Airport, I was happy to discover that a stop over for a full day in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, is possible without any surcharge or conflict with our Tanzanian trip schedule. All i needed is to leave the office a day earlier & transit visa, available on arrival for 70USD. It turns out that the fee for the visa includes paid hotel for a day.
Green green Ethiopia. This is the first scene of Africa i see...Love it!
After i checked-in the hotel i left most of my luggage. Equipped only with my camera & GPS map I rushed to explore the urban life of Addis Ababa. I was just about to leave the hotel lobby when I met a chinese girl who happen to have similar schedule like me. She kindly asked me to join in the city exploration. Well it's always nice to have somebody to talk with...
The streets of Addis Ababa are really empty. If you come across a car it's most likely going to be and old russian Lada taxi from the '70s. .
We enter the near by church and i was surprised to see so many pilgrims, almost everybody was covered by white scarf. I am asking some of the locals, but it's hard to find anybody who can speak any foreign language.
As if from nowhere this boy appeared and start talking to us. Asking us about our origin..Almost made him believe i was from China :)
He told us funny fact. Today the official date in the world is Sep 2nd, 2012, but in Ethiopia is Sep 2n, 2005. So I ended up been 7 years younger. Me likeeeee!
On top of it, yesterday (Sep 1st) was the New Year in Addis and today is one of the biggest holidays in the country. Now i get it why all official offices are closed...
Oftentimes i find myself searching in the list of "must-see" sightseeing and doing all my best to stick to the initial plan of traveling i schedule. This time it wanted to be different. I wanted to explorer Addis Ababa without knowing anything about it. Even i hope to get lost for a while....The GPS should be the tool to make sure i can find my way back for my flight to Tanzania on time.
There are places like this...
...and just on the other side of the street like this
We visited St. George's Church. It is impressive to see the guardians of the church. 150+ old turtles walking around the yard. Other interesting fact is that the "ordinary" people do their daily pray outside of the building by looking at any wall.
My guide managed to get me permission (that costs me 1 USD) to enter the church where i was met personally by the local priest totally dressed in yellow. Strange habit. In Bulgaria our orthodox guys were only black. I was invited to visit the underground of the church and i should admit that was really freaky to see how the boy removes a rug in the main chamber, opens a huge door hidden in the floor and invites me to enter. Yep, Ethiopia is not the safest place on earth, my internal voice tells me to be super careful...but at the end i decide to check what's there. In the hidden room under the main chamber you can see 3 sarcophags of ancient kings. There are also gifts, flags, status from around the world (Greece, France, etc.) Still i prefer the fresh air and hurry up to go out.
After visiting the national museum and seeing the first human "alike" Lucy, my stomach reminded me that it's lunch time. My guide brought me to a fancy Ethiopian restaurant where i could test the famous local food and beer. Well, how to say...it's all just marketing!
I leave Ethiopia with nostalgia, but my thesis has been confirmed once again
cities are just cities....nothing special
Really need to come again and check the hidden treasures in the rural area.
Night flight from Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro Airport
The flight lands 3:00am at Kilimanjaro Airport, Tanzania. Really small, but very clean and well organised Airport. I get the 2 weeks tourist visa on arrival after volunteering supporting the local economy with 50USD. The custom officer are very kind. Seems they love "muzungus" (white tourists)...or probably the cash all of us bring.
I am waiting for my luggage, and i am waiting. Everyone got his bag and it's long gone. Only one american dude and me are still waiting. A custom officer comes to us and tells us that there are no more bags to come. OMG...all my mountain climbing equipment is gone, or most of it. Thangs God i have take my mountain boots, hardshell jacket & pants. in my heard, already start thinking what i can rent. There is no time to wait for my bag to be found since in 28~29h is the beginning of our Kilimanjaro climb.
The American guy gives me a sign to go to "Lost and Found" office to leave our contact points.
But the office is locked and the clerk is probably sleeping. I am really frustrated and while i start to practise my bulgarian, serbian, korean, and some other "urban" vocabularies. A big green parcel inside the office attracts my attention. It looks so similar to my own luggage. I go closer and with a huge smile on my face i discover i am safe! Now needs to find anybody to open that room and take my baby.
30 min later i am officially in Tanzania with all my things and start looking for a driver with my name written on a signboard. Strange but i find two people who carry same notification...quick i pick just one of them and ask him to hurry up to the hotel Alex has organised for us.
50km later i am in my room, dead tired go to sleep and wait for Alex to arrive in few hours.